Online texts – a challenge for writers and readers
In contrast to traditional forms of media, the internet floods its audience with information. Readers are left to sift through content independently, and since time is a factor and screen reading is strenuous most users simply skim texts for the most important information.
For web texts this means writers must focus on essentials. No matter if an article is about the Internet of Things or a service description for an ISO certification, the reader’s need for clarity and concision is paramount!
Text is not the same as text
It is important to clarify the purpose of the text right from the start and who the target group is. On the whole, a distinction is made between two areas: Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C).
When writing in the B2C area, the end user is addressed directly. The aim of the online text is to convince consumers to buy a certain product or to take advantage of a special service.
In the B2B area, on the other hand, other companies or organizations are addressed. In most cases, the products or services provided involve a more complex and multi-stage purchasing process.
We are increasingly working with customers from industry and technology who want to address other organizations and companies. Therefore, the following article focuses on B2B texts.
B2B, but right
When writing B2B texts, it is important to define the target group right at the beginning. Who is the text intended for? Further text work builds on this. Every target group has different needs to take into consideration when writing.
Wording – it has to be crisp!
Texts in the B2B area require a professional tone as they typically address managers, managing directors or other decision-makers. Flowery language or nested sentences are therefore out of place. In addition, time is of the essence for this group which values a succinct, pared-down communication style.
Who do I want to reach?
In the B2B sector, a number of different target groups are often addressed in a single text. Although a manufacturer of solar panels has completely different needs than the operator or the investor, the requirements and perspectives of each group must be reflected in the text. The writer’s job is to craft compelling copy that speaks to these differences and addresses the diversity of needs.
Structure – clarity is required!
B2B communication demands a simple, clear structure. Paragraphs and highlighted headings signal at a glance what information is being shared: Which product is it? What are my advantages? And why should I buy that here?
Dividing the text into precisely these subject areas – overview, advantages and purchasing rationale – enables the reader to scan the text quickly and glean relevant information. Keyword lists with bullet points or the use of pictures or graphics are effective orientation aids as well.
Emotions and needs – convince me!
Although decisions in the B2B area are seldom explicitly made on an emotional level, manufacturers, dealers or suppliers must be convinced that their needs will be met. Skilled writers with the right approach can help get this message across.
For example, by describing “success situations” writers tap into their audience’s aspirations and underscore the advantages of purchasing the product or using the service. Calls-To-Action (CTAs), make it easy for corporate customers to interact with the potential supplier by scheduling a meeting, speaking to a consultant or requesting more information. Additional materials offered free of charge, such as white papers, FAQs, reference cases or brochures can also be useful. All of these techniques convey the message that the service provider or supplier is accessible, knowledgeable and values its customers.
SEO – find and be found
As the primary means of ensuring that readers and texts cross paths, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) cannot be ignored. This refers to measures that secure web content an advantageous place in the organic search engine ranking. Keywords and meta descriptions are indispensable tools for achieving a high ranking and delivering texts to their targets.
This is what a good B2B text looks like
A successful B2B text combines the aforementioned points. An effective text convinces busy managers or department heads,by providing data that supports their decision making. Concise sentences, precise word choice, pithy headings and meaningful subdivisions function as guideposts to help readers navigate the information presented.
A traditional structure, e.g. introduction – body – conclusion, is typical. The introduction briefly describes what is at stake and mentions the first and most important advantage. Once the reader’s attention has been drawn, the main section deals in more detail with the product or service. Enumerations or graphic representations are suitable here to summarize complex information. In the final part, the reasoning or rationale is once again presented briefly and concisely as a decision aid.
In addition, specific calls to action are placed in prominent locations to encourage the reader to engage actively with the product or service.
Since B2B topics are often too complex to be described thoroughly in a brief text, additional content is listed elsewhere via internal links or simply “outsourced.” In additional materials, such as FAQs or white papers, specific facts can be addressed in more detail.
Overall, B2B texts usually require a little less creativity than their B2C counterparts, but in some sense more skill. These texts often include technical information requiring a degree of expertise and familiarity with the relevant industry. Competition is fierce, but well-crafted copy can set a company apart.